He’s outta here … he thinks
Chico Planning Director Kim Seidler, who announced last summer that he was retiring at the end of 2005 after eight years on the job but then didn’t leave, said this week that he will definitely retire this year. When, exactly? Well, as soon as a new director gets hired and broken into the job and, well, you know …

No matter what, though, he’s vacationing in July, but then he’ll be back to help with the transition. When that’s over, he’s definitely moving to Albuquerque, where he’s been offered a teaching position with the University of New Mexico, will “probably” do some consulting, and “will finally try to play my mandolin.” He’ll also be caring for his aging father.

Seidler is nearly 58, and the intensity of the job has become too much. “I’m running out of gas,” he said. The worst part of moving will be leaving Chico: “I’ve come to love the city and its people. I will miss everything about it.”

Seidler is a good guy and a real pro who makes journalists’ jobs easier by returning calls promptly. We’ll miss him, too.

Doolittle dinged on child care
For a guy who brandishes his straight-arrow creds every chance he gets, Rep. John Doolittle (R-Roseville), whose 4th District includes the Oroville area, is sure taking a lot of heat for alleged moral lapses these days. First there were the allegations of links to disgraced Beltway lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Then he was lambasted for hiring his wife as his fundraiser and paying her 15 percent of the take. Now, he’s been put on the spot—by the Washington Post, no less—because of his babysitters.

In a May 16 editorial, the Post accused Doolittle of using campaign funds to pay for his daughter’s care, to the tune of $5,881 since 2001. He argues that it’s a legitimate expense incurred so his wife can accompany him to official and campaign-related events. This may be permissible under lax federal guidelines, the Post said, but “that doesn’t make it right. … Mr. Doolittle makes $165,200 a year as a member of Congress. His wife has already taken in close to $100,000 in commissions this election as his fundraiser. They should just pay the sitter, as other working parents do.”

Firefighters honor one of their own
Chico firefighters gathered Tuesday (May 23) at the Chico Masonic Family Center to honor Earle C. Arbuckle, a former fire marshal who died on May 18 from Parkinson’s disease. He was 82.

Arbuckle came from a line of firefighters. His grandfather, “Doc” Glenn Arbuckle, became a volunteer Chico firefighter in 1910; his father, Glenn Arbuckle, became a call firefighter in 1931, eventually rising to become assistant chief.

Earle Arbuckle joined the department as a call firefighter before World War II, when he was still a teenager. After serving in the Marines during the war, he returned to Chico and was hired as a full-time firefighter in 1948. He became captain in 1961 and fire marshal in 1970. He retired in 1978.

He is remembered for his heroism in 1965, when he dashed into a burning home sans breathing apparatus, found a baby girl lying unconscious and not breathing in a rear bedroom, and administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as he rushed the baby outside. She survived, though her mother and older sister perished in the blaze.

Arbuckle is survived by his wife Doris, daughter Doris Dunham, her husband Ray and two grandchildren.